Homeownership comes with a lot of obligations, part of which is to ensure that any modifications or improvements on your property do not exceed the lines of your property.
Knowing your property’s boundary line, as well as the ways you might unknowingly encroach on your neighbors’ land, will help to guarantee that any property encroachment issues that arise are modest, such as an overgrown hedge. If a situation of property encroachment arises, having this understanding will make it more likely that it can be settled with a courteous chat.
Invasion of one’s personal space
You encroach on your neighbors land or property if you construct anything on their land or permit something to intrude onto a neighbor’s property, infringing on the neighbor’s property rights. Encroachment happens when a neighbor’s structure, fences, or gardens expand beyond a lot line onto your property.
Property encroachment can influence your capacity to promote and sell your property, whether it’s a fence that extends a foot or two beyond a neighbor’s property boundary or tree limbs that make it difficult for a property owner to reach his storage shed. If your neighbor’s acts fulfill an adverse-possession cause of action, an encroachment can lead to adverse possession claims, which can result in your neighbor taking your land.
Direct and indirect property encroachment
If one of your structures or other physical items is unlawfully protruding into your neighbor’s compound, you are guilty of encroachment, whether directly or indirectly.
A hedge placed to demarcate land may develop over time and mistakenly stretch over yours and a neighbor could potentially build a stairwell, driveway, or retaining wall on your land without your permission, these are samples of direct and indirect encroachment. However, if there is a legal agreement between you and your neighbor or what is called an easement, which gives your neighbor permission to utilize your land, it won’t count as encroachment.
Recognizing and preventing property encroachment
A property survey includes meters and bounds measurements, as well as information about the physical layout of your property. Bounds are descriptions of your property that use physical structures or natural phenomena such as a canal, building, or public road, rather than meters, which describe your land with directions and boundary measurements.
A survey will also reveal the position of property improvements such as houses, driveways, and outbuildings. The survey also identifies any property encroachments on either you or your neighbors’ properties. An inspection of an existing survey by a title company, on the other hand, detects property improvements made after the original survey and that encroach on your land. If you depend on the property survey when designing any alterations you want to make near a property line, you must make sure the improvements you make are within your property boundaries.